Fast-Food Finger Not Bitten Off by Leopard

Published April 22, 2005

| Associated Press

Authorities investigating the origin of a finger found in a California bowl of fast-food chili said Thursday they have uncovered no link to a Nevada leopard attack that cost a woman part of her index finger.

Nye County Sheriff Tony DeMeo said the chance of any connection is "diminishing." San Jose, Calif., Police Sgt. Nick Muyo said investigators there were also skeptical.

Sandy Allman (search), 59, lost a 3/4-inch fingertip Feb. 23 in the attack by a spotted leopard (search) being kept at her home in rural Pahrump, about 60 miles west of Las Vegas.

Las Vegas resident Anna Ayala claimed she found a 11/2-inch fingertip on March 22 while eating at a Wendy's (search) in San Jose.

"Obviously, if we have more of a finger than she lost, you might look at that on face value and say it's probably not the same," Muyo said Thursday.

A lawyer for Allman had said that she wanted to participate in any DNA testing of the found finger. She said she last saw her fingertip packed in ice in a Las Vegas emergency room. Doctors told her it could not be reattached, and she does not know what happened to it after that, lawyer Philip Sheldon said.

The hospital said it cannot account for the missing fingertip.

Ayala was visiting relatives in San Jose and could not be reached for comment. Her attorney, Jeffrey Janoff, said Wednesday that she had decided not to pursue a lawsuit over the found finger because scrutiny by police and reporters had been "very difficult for her emotionally."

Court records show Ayala has previously made claims against corporations, including a former employer, General Motors and a fast-food restaurant.

Wendy's maintains the finger did not enter the food in its ingredients. It has offered a $50,000 reward in the case and was keeping open a hot line for tips, spokesman Denny Lynch said.

URL

http://www.foxnews.com/story/2005/04/22/fast-food-finger-not-bitten-off-by-leopard